Truckee Donner Land Trust acquired Donner Summit Canyon west of Donner Lake in 2010, conveying it to California State Parks as part of Donner Memorial State Park in 2012. The conservation of this land preserves an important part of California history, tributaries that provide Donner Lake with clean, clear water and ensures the viewshed remains intact. In addition, it opened the Donner Summit Canyon Trail to the public, a route that traverses Donner Summit Creek with spectacular views of Donner Lake, Donner Peak and Schallenberger Ridge as it climbs to Donner Summit. The trail, which follows what was once called Highway 37, passes under dramatic granite cliffs, accesses a scenic viewpoint with picnic tables and passes Native American petroglyphs.
Record precipitation from the 2016-17 winter washed out section of the trail - making both legs of a key switchback difficult to pass. Working with Donner Memorial State Park's Engineering Geologist, the Truckee Donner Land Trust identified a new alignment for the section of trail prone to washing out, designed to withstand spring runoff and rain events. The work also requires the building of a bridge - at the price of $60,000 to insure safe, sustainable passage.
The new alignment and bridge was completed in the fall of 2018.